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Europe

The European continent was named after beautiful Phoenician woman called Europa.

Europe

When Zeus have seen Agenor's daughter Europa gathering flowers he immediately fell in love with her.

Places that I've seen and I like

There are a lot of cities and nice places in Germany, many of them having profound significance in the history of Germany and some in the history of the whole Europe. I will describe only these that I have visited myself, thus you may not find many very interesting cities and sites. But this only means that I was not there.

The places and sites are described on a few pages and put in the alphabetic order. Almost all photographs are taken by me using my amateur Panasonic camera.

Baden-Baden, Berlin, Brandenburg an der Havel and Braunschweig

Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is a spa town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located on the western foothills of the Black Forest, 180 meters above the see level, on the banks of the Oos River, in the region of Karlsruhe.

Baden 1 Baden 2
Baden 3 Baden 4

Baden-Baden with its 54 000 citizens is a picturesque German bathing town. The city offers many options for sports enthusiasts; Golf and tennis are both popular in the area. Horse racing fans enjoy the international racing season each August at nearby Iffezheim. The countryside is ideal for hiking and mountain climbing. In the winter Baden-Baden is a skiing destination.

The springs of Baden-Baden have been known for more than 2,000 years, and their composition resembles that of the Roman baths of the 3rd century. The water at the baths of "Caracalla-Therme" spa is rich in sodium chloride, and comes from artesian wells 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) under the Florentiner Mountain.

Baden 5 Baden 6
Baden 7 Baden 8

The Spielbank casino is more than 200 years old and the oldest of its type in Germany. Dostoyevsky is said to have written The Gambler after he lost his money and even his shirt here. The rooms were designed in the style of a French château. The Russian writer Ivan Turgenev based his novel Smoke (1867) in Baden-Baden, and he described it as a place when the Russian nobility spend time.

Berlin

Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has 4.4 million residents from over 190 nations. Located in the European Plains, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.

Berlin 01 Berlin 02
Berlin 1 the border Berlin 2 Check Point Charlie

The origin of the name Berlin is unknown, but it may have its roots in the language of the previous West Slavic inhabitants of this area and be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-birl what means "swamp".

In 1435, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. His successor, Frederick II Irontooth, established Berlin as capital of the margraviate, and subsequent members of the Hohenzollern family ruled until 1918 in Berlin, first as electors of Brandenburg, then as kings of Prussia, and eventually as German emperors.

Berlin 3 Berlin 4
Berlin 5 Berlin 6

As a result of the political and economical tensions brought on by the Cold War, on 13 August 1961, East Germany began building the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin and similar barriers around West Berlin, and events escalated to a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961. West Berlin was now de facto a part of West Germany with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was de facto a part of East Germany. Berlin was completely divided.

In 1989, with the end of the Cold War and pressure from the East German population the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989, and was subsequently mostly demolished, with little of its physical structure remaining today. The East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain near the Oberbaumbrücke over the Spree has preserved a portion of the Wall.

Berlin 7 Berlin 8 Sint Nicolas Church
Berlin 9 Berlin 10

On 3 October 1990, the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin again became the official German capital. In June 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, voted to move the seat of the German capital back from Bonn to Berlin, what was finally completed in 1999.

Brandenburg an der Havel

Brandenburg an der Havel is a town in the state of Brandenburg, Germany, with a population of 71,778 (as of 2010). It is located on the banks of the River Havel. The town of Brandenburg, which is almost as widely known as the state of Brandenburg, provided the name for the medieval Bishopric of Brandenburg, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, and the current state of Brandenburg. Today it is a small town compared to nearby Berlin, but it was the original nucleus of the former realms of Brandenburg and of Prussia.

Brandenburg rynek

The castle of Brandenburg, which had been a fortress of the Slavic tribe Stodoranie, was conquered in 929 by King Henry the Fowler. The town remained German only until 983, when a Slavic rebellion was successful. During the next 170 years the area was ruled by Slavic princes of the Hevelles tribe. The last of them, Pribislav, died in 1150. Afterwards Albert I settled here and became the first margrave of Brandenburg. The town was restricted to the western bank of the Havel until 1196, when it was extended to the eastern side.

Tower in Brandenburg Marshes and the river Havel

The city is located on the navigable River Havel, a European Waterway, and vessels travelling through the city have a choice of two routes. The original route used the Brandenburg City Canal, a 4-kilometre route through the city centre that descends through the Stadtschleuse Brandenburg, but this route is constrained in size and now limited to leisure craft. Commercial traffic instead uses the Silo Canal that passes through the eastern and northern fringes of the city.

Kathedral Kathedral inside
Kathedral altar Wagner orgels

The Dominsel on the Cathedral Island is the historic heart of the town. Here stands its oldest edifice: the Dom St. Peter und Paul. Although construction began in the Romanesque style in 1165, it was completed as a Gothic cathedral during the 14th century. The cathedral surprises the visitor with its sumptuous interior, especially the painted vault and the Wagner organ from 1725, one of the most famous Baroque organs in Germany.

Katherina Church Katherina church interior
Sint Gothard church Sint Gothard interior

The Katharinenkirche built in 1401 in the Neustadt is an impressive example of northern German brick Gothic architecture. The Gotthardtkirche was built of the same material just a few years later. Another interesting building is the Altstädtisches Rathaus, a late Gothic brick building with stepped gables and an ornate portal. There is also a part of Brandenburg's medieval city wall, with four preserved watchtowers.

Braunschweig

Brunswick is a city of 250,556 people, located in the state of Lower Saxony, north of the Harz mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects the city to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser.

Tradition maintains that Braunschweig was created through the merger of two settlements, one founded by Bruno, a Saxon count who died in 880, on one side of the river Oker – the legend gives the year 861 for the foundation – and the other the settlement of a legendary Count Dankward. The city was first mentioned in documents from the St. Magni Church from 1031, which give the city's name as Brunesguik.

St Katherina church St Katherina church en monument
House from 17 century Door to 17 century house
St Andreas church St Andreas church view from the side

Up to the 12th century Braunschweig was ruled by the Saxon noble family of the Brunonen, then, through marriage, it fell to the House of Welf. In 1142 Henry the Lion of the House of Welf became Duke of Saxony and made Braunschweig the capital of his state. He turned Dankwarderode Castle, the residence of the counts of Braunschweig, into his own Pfalz and developed the city further to represent his authority. Under Henry's rule the Cathedral of St. Blasius was built and he also had the statue of a lion, his heraldic animal, erected in front of the castle. The lion subsequently became the city's landmark.

Old Weigting House rebuilt after the second World War Backyard of St Andreas church
View on old Weighting Hous and St Andreas church St Ulrici church

During the Middle Ages Braunschweig was an important center of trade, one of the economic and political centers in Northern Europe and a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th century to the middle of the 17th century. By the year 1600, Braunschweig was the seventh largest city in Germany. Although formally Brunswick-Lüneburg was a constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire, the city was de facto ruled independently by a powerful class of patricians and the guilds throughout much of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Because of the growing power of Braunschweig's burghers, the Princes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who ruled over one of the subdivisions of Brunswick-Lüneburg, finally moved their Residenz out of the city and to the nearby town of Wolfenbüttel in 1432.

Shoping street in Brunschweig Residential street in Bruschweig
Bezirsregirung building New City Hall

In the 18th century Braunschweig was not only a political, but also a cultural centre. Influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment Dukes like Anthony Ulrich and Charles I became patrons of the arts and sciences. In 1745 Charles I founded the Collegium Carolinum, predecessor of the Braunschweig University of Technology, and in 1753 he moved the ducal residence back to Braunschweig. With this he attracted poets and thinkers such as Lessing, Leisewitz, and Jakob Mauvillon to his court and the city.[12] Emilia Galotti by Lessing and Goethe's Faust were performed for the first time in Braunschweig.

In 1806 the city was captured by the French during the Napoleonic Wars and became part of the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Braunschweig was made capital of the reestablished independent Duchy of Brunswick, later a constituent state of the German Empire from 1871.

Veltheimsches Haus (left) and Gildehaus (right) Dankwarderode Castle
Old Rathouse Entrance to Braunschweig kathedral

At the end of World War I, on 8 November 1918, a socialist Workers' council forced Duke Ernest Augustus to abdicate his throne. On 10 November the council proclaimed the Socialist Republic of Brunswick under a one party government of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany. However, the subsequent elections on 22 December 1918 were won by the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and both parties formed a coalition government. In December 1921 the new constitution of the Free State of Brunswick, now a parliamentary republic within the Weimar Republic, again with Braunschweig as its capital, was approved.

During World War II, Braunschweig was a Sub-area Headquarters of Military District XI. It was also the garrison city of the 31st Infanterie Division, which took part in the invasions of Poland, Belgium, France, and later Russia. The city was severely damaged by Anglo-American aerial attacks. The air raid on October 15, 1944 destroyed most of the Altstadt, which had been the largest ensemble of half-timbered houses in Germany, as well as most of the churches. The cathedral, which had been converted to a national shrine by the Nazi government, still stood.

Inside kathedral Altar in the kathedral
View from Altar in the kathedraal Prichstoel
Kisten met kings of Braunschweig Passage from Kathedraal to the castle

After the war, Braunschweig ceased to be a capital when the Free State of Brunswick was dissolved by the Allied occupying authorities and most of its lands were incorporated in the newly formed state of Lower Saxony. The cathedral was restored to its function as a Protestant church. The rebuilding of the city was intended to make it modern and automobile-oriented. A small section of the Altstadt survived the bombing and remains quite distinctive. In the 1990s efforts increased to reconstruct historic buildings that had been destroyed in the air raid. Buildings such as the Alte Waage, originally built in 1534, now stand again in their pre-war glory.

Old house in Braunschweig Old street in Braunschweig
Old huis in Braunschweig 2 Statue - fontaine in old stad
Famous bakery with Braunschweig precels Children plying in old town

Braunschweig is served by two highways, the A2 (Berlin—Hanover—Dortmund) and the A39 (Salzgitter—Wolfsburg). Many residents travel around the town by bicycle using an extensive system of bicycle-only lanes. The city is on the main rail line between Frankfurt and Berlin and the German Railways serves the city also with local, inter-city and high-speed InterCityExpress (ICE) trains, with frequent stops at Braunschweig Central Station. The city has an inexpensive and extensive 35 km electric tram system that was first opened in 1897 and it has been modernized, including a 3.2 km extension in 2007. The Braunschweig Airport is located north of the city at 52°19′N 10°33′E and 90 meters elevation.

Bakery with famous precels Precels and other sweets seen from the shop window
New Rathuis tower Rathuis seen from the south side
Monument of King Willem Rebuilt exterior of the Braunschweig Palace

Braunschweig has been an important industrial area. Today it is known for its University and research institutes, mainly the Johann Heinrich von Thuenen Institute, the Julius Kühn-Institut, and the Institute for Animal Food of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, until the end of 2007 all part of the Federal Agricultural Research Centre, the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. It maintains the atomic clock responsible for the DCF77 time signal and the official German time. The region of Braunschweig is the most R&D-intensive area in the whole European Economic Area investing 7.1% of its GDP for research & technology. Braunschweig was named Germany's City of Science 2007.